As the COVID-19 situation continues to affect our current way of life, many services and organizations are beginning to look towards the future to see what technologies will aid in the prevention efforts to come. Looking at the potentially effects UAS could play, JMA iLAB published an article in a leading fire service publication, Fire Rescue 1 magazine, called "How drones could be used during the COVID-19 response."
To honor Women's History Month, WPGC 95.5 spotlights JMA Solutions' President and CEO Jan Adams, for her contributions to the Washington, DC business community.
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Product of the JMA iLAB small-Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) & UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Working Group
JMA Solutions, LLC (JMA) through its research and development enterprise, JMA Innovation Lab (iLAB), submits these comments in response to the request for public comment for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rule making action in regards to requiring remote identification of UAS.
The accelerated growth of sUAS technology, its wider availability and growing use case portfolio has led to the adoption of sUAS by many entities, including public safety agencies, state and local governments, commercial entities and recreational flyers. Given the accelerated quantity of UAS available and flying, and questions surrounding how they can be safely integrated into the national airspace system (NAS), FAA’s efforts to propose rules on the development, deployment and regulation of remote identification in UAS is necessary.
JMA has been a leading contributor to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) efforts to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System. JMA’s work has involved leading practices in air traffic management, UAS Traffic Management (UTM) policy, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) guidance, Safety Management System (SMS) development, and both internal/external communication strategies to safely and efficiently integrate UAS into the NAS.
JMA iLAB’s public comment for the FAA’s Remote ID notice of proposed rule making is based on the aforementioned FAA air traffic management and UAS experience. In addition, JMA iLAB members have collaborated with a broad spectrum of UAS stakeholders through participation in several standard setting bodies, including CANSO, Drone Responders Public Safety Alliance, the ANSI UAS Standardization Collaborative, the National Public Safety Telecom Council, InfraGard and International Emergency Drone Organization.
Drone Responders Public Safety Alliance
ANSI UAS Standardization Collaborative (UASSC)
National Public Safety Telecom Council UAS & Robotics WG
InfraGard UAS Integration into Critical Infrastructure WG
International Emergency Drone Organization
In 2019, JMA iLAB published a white paper for the public safety community titled “Application, Implementation and Management of sUAS by Fire Rescue.” Subsequently, JMA iLAB published an article in a leading fire service publication, Fire Rescue 1 magazine, called “Eyes in the sky: How firefighters can use drones during all-hazards incidents.”
The implementation and justification of remote ID for UAS is very often, and accurately, compared to that of license plates on automobiles. In this case all vehicles must be identifiable by entities including, but not limited to, law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Owners must register vehicles with a motor vehicle authority in their state of residence in order to receive a license plate, which then connect vehicle owner information to that identifier (license plate). This information is relatively well kept private and normally only accessible to law enforcement.
Unmanned vehicles should also have an identifier announcing their presence to law enforcement, regulatory authorizes such as the FAA and other participating sUAS. Therefore, owners of specific drones should register each aircraft and have a unique identification attached to them. This is the basis for development of a UAS Traffic Management System.
Problems and Challenges Addressed by Remote ID
Public safety, national security and law enforcement concerns involved both the existence of two groups of aircraft operators, bad actors and unknowing actors. Bad actors wish to intentionally and negatively impact the safety and security of the homeland. In contrast unknowing actors unintentionally, through lack of technical skills or regulatory knowledge, negatively impact the safety and security of the homeland. Both require immediate attention and an appropriate official response.
For example, during the course of several emergency responses to structural fires and natural disasters requiring the deployment of traditional aircraft, the presence of unidentified UAS have led to grounding of such air assets. This has negatively impacted rescue or suppression operations. The operators of those drones were likely unknowing actors, not realizing the significant consequences of their actions. In other examples, mysterious drone sightings have been reported over cities, with calls to law enforcement. Not having the ability to identify the purpose of these flights creates a general feeling of insecurity in communities. Remote ID adoption would allow authorities the ability to identify operators and when appropriate inform or deliver consequences.
Bad actors may intentionally weaponize drones or simply use dangerously close flying to cause severe interruptions. There are arguments to be made that the history of drones in the United States does not point to any major breaches to national security or safety. While this is true, it does not mean that the potential does not exist. A failure of imagination was cited by the 9/11 Commission as one of the failures in preventing that attack, where no one had imagined airplanes would be hijacked and used as missiles flown into important sites. The intentions of bad actors cannot be mitigated with remote ID. However, the ability to identify assets in increasing complicated airspace through broadcast with the added possibility to connect a drone with a bad actor operator is a valuable tool for law enforcement.
Questions to consider for improvement of the remote ID notice of proposed rule making: How will law enforcement be able to access remote ID data in order to identify drones? How quickly will the data be available? Who will be the ultimate responsibility of remote ID information (which is also shared with third parties)?
While there are many questions on privacy and the use of drones, remote ID and the proposed rule making does present some new aspects of privacy protection. Remote Identification UAS Service Suppliers (Remote ID USS) will be tasked with providing the services to maintain registrations and tracking of broadcast or network signals.
Questions around privacy to consider: What information will be made available to the general public by the Remote ID USS? Will the Remote ID USS host personal and private information on aircraft owners, or will the FAA be responsible?
Following the comparison to cars and license plates, motor vehicle authorities keep owner information and only make it available to law enforcement and other regulatory bodies with proper cause. Fellow drivers cannot identify the registration information of a vehicle, but simply reading a license plate. In aviation, there is an additional use case that flying objects should be identifiable through use of a transponder or other broadcast signal. This should be the case for other UAS operators looking at a map of active UAS.
Remote ID as a Next Step
Remote ID is the necessary next step in the safe integration of UAS into the NAS. It is also the next step required to enable the development, regulation and implementation of other technologies and procedures to further assist safe integration. These include detect-and-avoid technologies, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and UAS Traffic Management.
Washington, DC, February 11, 2019: JMA Solutions, LLC, donates $3,000 to the Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowering (S.M.I.L.E) Organization to support their Youth Mentoring Program and other philanthropic efforts. S.M.I.L.E’s unique program model is crafted strategically by leaders within the community to ensure youth are provided with proper learning tools and resources to ultimately transfer knowledge back into the community.
“JMA Solutions is proud to support and further our commitment to S.M.I.L.E in ensuring young leaders around the world are supported, uplifted and empowered to achieve their dreams and become agents of change.” said Jan Adams, President and CEO.
In addition to the Youth Mentoring Program, S.M.I.L.E hosts numerous programs and volunteer efforts to ensure no youth is left behind. In 2019 alone, S.M.I.L.E trained 391 young leaders across 14 secondary schools, awarded 13 college scholarships, equipped 68 youth with lucrative skills through their summer skill acquisition and digital literacy program, donated 10 desks and chairs to a school and hosted 82 organizations and 200 attendees at the International Youth Day.
Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E) is a youth leadership development and mentoring non-profit organization established in Lagos, Nigeria in 2011 (S.M.I.L.E) and in Maryland, United States of America in 2017 (S.M.I.L.E Initiative).
S.M.I.L.E is an Associate of the United Nations Department of Public Information/NGO, New York and in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council since 2017.
About JMA Solutions
Headquartered in Washington, DC, JMA Solutions is an award-winning government consulting firm with over fifteen (15) years of experience delivering outstanding customer support. Since 2005, we have provided customer support for Air Traffic Management, Program Management, Safety Management Systems for UAS, Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Radar and Communications Support and much more!
Washington, DC, February 3, 2020: The JMA Innovation Lab (iLAB) is proud to announce its participation as "friend of a committee” to four Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committees. The four standing committees include Aviation Security and Emergency Management, Safety Data Analyst and Evaluation, Transportation Safety Management Systems and the Task Force on Transit Safety and Security.
“The JMA iLAB’s mission to provide innovative research-based solutions to solve complex challenges for government, corporations and individuals aligns perfectly with the mission of the TRB. We’re very excited to contribute to transportation safety and security research.” said Tony Tisdall, VP of Global Affairs and Aviation Solutions.
As defined by the TRB, a “friend of a committee” is someone who can attend committee meetings and participate in the same activities as committee members. Examples of committee activities include:
About JMA Solutions Headquartered in Washington, DC, JMA Solutions is an award-winning government consulting firm with over fifteen (15) years of experience delivering outstanding customer support. Since 2005, we have provided customer support for Air Traffic Management, Program Management, Safety Management Systems for UAS, Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Radar and Communications Support and much more!